US Open 2012: 5 Reasons Why Andy Murray Will Win at Flushing Meadows
Andy Murray's case just goes to show how quickly and how drastically thousands or millions of people's minds can change.
In the eyes of many members of the media, Andy Murray is now the real deal. These are the same people who, just months ago, were calling him a pretender and a choker, attacking him for crumbling under pressure.
It's not a unique case either—just read Open, Andre Agassi's autobiography.
But Murray may be the favorite for this U.S. Open because of his recent form. If he wins at Flushing Meadows, it will be the first year since 2003 that there have been four different Grand Slam winners (Agassi, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick won the four Slams, respectively).
Here are five reasons why Murray will win the U.S. Open and his first Grand Slam title.
Olympic Momentum (Plus Wimbledon)
Murray won his first ever major tournament at Centre Court at the All England Club. He won the Olympics just weeks after his great Wimbledon showing, where he stormed to the final but lost in four sets to Roger Federer.
His Olympic showing, however, was even better than that at Wimbledon.
Murray started it off with a straight-sets win against Stanislas Wawrinka, then eased past Finn Jarkko Nieminen in the second round. However, in the next round, the Brit was tested against Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, but pulled it out in the third set, 6-4.
Next up was Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, whose strong surface isn't grass. That showed a little bit, as Murray won 6-4, 6-1. The anticipated semifinal saw Murray taking on Djokovic, but Murray was rock solid and won 7-5, 7-5.
The final wasn't close. Murray was brilliant, and Federer didn't play so well. The scoreline showed it: 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
The confidence Murray has gained because of these two great tournaments can only be used to his advantage.
Past a Mental Block
As mentioned in the introduction slide, Murray has been called names by most members of the media because he really felt his nerves in big matches.
Murray has made four Grand Slam finals in his career.
His first one came in 2008, when he encountered Federer at the U.S. Open. The second one was in 2010, when Federer again trumped the Scot in the Australian Open final, and the third one was in 2011 at the Australian Open, when Novak Djokovic outplayed Murray to capture his second Slam.
In all of these Slams, Murray failed to win a set and was thoroughly outplayed. In the Wimbledon final of this year, however, things were less one-sided, as Murray won the first set, but lost the next three. Nevertheless, he played very well, even though Federer was too good.
And at the Olympics, Andy managed to pass the mental block of big tournament finals. Plus, he beat Federer, who had beaten him in two other Slam finals.
Now that he is past this, nerves in big matches shouldn't be a huge problem.
Added Support from Home
Success comes with support; it's not a secret.
From the beginning, as soon as Murray became fairly prominent, the whole of Scotland seemed to be behind him. Even at the Olympics, all British people were for Murray, and he thrilled them by adding a gold to Great Britain's tally.
NBC's coverage of the men's final showed many fans in Dunblane and London celebrating and cheering Murray on the entire time.
With the legitimacy of Murray's claim as a top player of his generation comes fan support. There will undoubtedly be more British fans making the trip to New York because of their countryman's recent success and the fact that he is a favorite for the tournament.
Plus, many fans were touched when Murray cried after Wimbledon, and so there will be a few more rooting for him.
This added support may be decisive if the crowd is really behind him.
The Year's Toll on Federer
The excuse of Federer being old and not winning in the short term isn't very valid anymore, given that the Swiss Maestro is back at the top and winning at age 31.
However, a possible explanation for his sluggishness in the Wimbledon final is how the entire tennis season is taking a toll on Federer's body.
Not only had Federer come straight out of a 19-17 third set, but the physical and mental weariness after clay season and grass season may very well have been the reason for his lack of sharpness in the Olympic final.
With the hard-court season almost immediately after the Olympics, Federer probably hasn't had much time for rest and recuperation, and therefore may not be at his top form.
The role of getting tired out over the stretch of a year used to be that of Rafael Nadal (which he only managed to avoid the last two years), but now may be the obstacle that slows Federer down.
Were the two to meet, I don't think Federer could beat Murray.
Djokovic's Bad Form and Nadal's Withdrawal
And now, of course, the big news of the day is that Nadal has pulled out of the U.S. Open, as his injury at Wimbledon is still an issue. Nadal cited his right knee as to why he couldn't attempt to steal back the U.S. Open crown from Djokovic.
Speaking of Djokovic, the Serb who won three Slams last year has not been able to maintain his form of 2011. The question is, why?
Some say it may be the effects of recovery steroids that he was taking last year now wearing off, some say that his motivation isn't as great, and some just think others have risen to his level due to motivation (since he beat most of them consistently last year).
Anyway, despite the fact that he won the Rogers Cup, I don't think he will be able to beat Murray if the two square off at some point.
Murray is not only more motivated, but he is playing his best tennis at the moment, while Djokovic isn't looking as impressive.
All in all, I think Murray is the favorite entering the year's final Slam.
Nadal has pulled out, and Federer and Djokovic don't really look up to beating Murray, who will come into the tournament with the wind in his sails.
That being said, I think the men with the biggest chances of beating Murray and winning the tournament are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro, who just won the bronze medal at the Olympics, beating Djokovic in the third-place match.
It will certainly not be easy for Murray, but I think that coming into the tournament, he is the one everyone should hope isn't in their draw.
Who do you think will win it?
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